It will rain heavily over the weekend. The German Weather Service warns of “danger to life and limb due to flooding”.

Heavy rain is expected, flooding cannot be ruled out: The weather forecast for the weekend does not bode well for some parts of Germany. The German Weather Service issued severe weather warnings for large parts of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg on Thursday. There is a risk of flooding. An overview of what could happen in the next few days:

The German Weather Service has issued hazard information in advance for several federal states. This affects regions in a wide strip from Dresden and Erfurt to the Alps. Large areas of Baden-Württemberg are also marked on a DWD map. Meteorologists are talking about a low pressure system that will move from the Alps to Poland and could bring heavy, persistent rain with thunderstorms. The amount of precipitation could therefore be between 50 and 120 liters per square meter within 48 hours – in some places even up to 150 liters per square meter.

As of Thursday afternoon, the severe weather warnings that have now been issued are valid from Friday until late Sunday in some cases. It cannot be ruled out that these warnings will be extended to other areas. Of course, it is not yet possible to say exactly whether there will actually be that much precipitation locally in the end.

However, experts say that if it rains that much, flooding is likely. From Friday afternoon to Sunday, the low pressure system could keep fire departments busy in several regions of Germany. In any case, many rivers in Germany are carrying more water than usual – many soils are wet and can no longer absorb precipitation. Just recently, around the Pentecost weekend, Saarland was affected by flooding.

The German Weather Service warns that roads and underpasses can quickly become flooded in heavy rain. “Danger to life and limb due to flooding,” it said. Aquaplaning on roads is also possible – this increases the risk of traffic accidents. Landslides could also occur.

The Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance generally advises checking food and drink supplies in connection with severe weather warnings. “Most important rule: stay at home! Try to postpone appointments or meetings,” the authority’s recommendations state. In general, flood protection in Germany has been strengthened – also as a consequence of the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley that left many people dead three years ago.

Just this week, the German Insurance Association demanded that the focus of protection against natural hazards should be on adaptation to the effects of climate change. “We need adaptation to climate change to be anchored in building regulations, less land sealing and building bans in flood areas.”

There are many outdoor events, especially in the summer months. One or two of them are likely to fall through, literally. Saxony’s state government is postponing the open day planned for Saturday because of the weather. In Thuringia, for example, the fountain festival with parade in Bad Berka near Weimar and a planned children’s festival in Gotha were cancelled with reference to the safety of visitors. The German Catholic Day is currently taking place in the state capital of Erfurt.

The town of Norden on the East Frisian North Sea coast has already felt the effects of heavy rain: on Wednesday, streets were flooded and cellars filled with water.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), individual events are generally not direct evidence of climate change. However, according to the DWD, analyses of the past 70 years show that the intensity and frequency of days of heavy rainfall with over 20 litres per square metre per day have increased slightly in Germany. The strongest signals of change are therefore seen in winter. There is still no clear picture in summer – this is probably because the number of days with precipitation has decreased, but the precipitation itself has intensified on the remaining days. In addition, precipitation in summer is often smaller and therefore more difficult to record than the extensive precipitation in winter.

However, according to the DWD, the amount of rain on days with heavy rainfall in summer will probably increase. Climate researchers always give one reason: a warmer atmosphere can absorb more moisture, which means more water falls when it rains.